FDNY EMT Yadira Arroyo’s killer found guilty of murder

Jose Gonzalez, Yadira Arroyo

Jose Gonzalez in 2017 after his arrest (via CBS New York Screengrab), Yadira Arroyo (pictured in an FDNY photo)

The suspect accused of running over an FDNY EMT and mother-of-five Yadira Arroyo with her own ambulance in 2017 has been found guilty of murder in the Bronx, prosecutors said Tuesday.

In the early stages of the murder case, questions swirled about Jose Gonzalez’s competency to face a trial, causing years of delays in justice, but the wait is now over, according to Bronx prosecutors. Gonzalez, now 31, was convicted of first-degree murder in the Bronx Superior Court this week as the man responsible for the death of the 14-year-old first responder that killed Arroyo nearly six years ago.

The murder of the 44-year-old mother of five sons on March 16, 2017 happened in the evening. The jury found that Gonzalez ran over Arroyo in her own ambulance and dragged her body down the street after hijacking the vehicle.

“[T]The defendant grabbed the back of the victim’s ambulance and drove on it, then jumped off and stole a backpack from a young man. The robbery victim pulled EMT Yadira Arroyo’s ambulance and she got out of the vehicle and spoke briefly with Gonzalez. The defendant then jumped into the driver’s seat of the ambulance, and Arroyo and her partner, who was in the passenger seat, told him to get out,” prosecutors said. “Gonzalez put it in reverse, hit Arroyo, then drove forward, pinned her under the vehicle, and dragged her across the intersection. The defendant crashed the vehicle into a snowdrift and got out of the ambulance.”

According to authorities, there was never any doubt that Gonzalez was the person behind the wheel and he was promptly arrested.

“An off-duty MTA police officer was nearby and saw the defendant dragging the victim by ambulance and confronted him. When Gonzalez tried to run away, the officer grabbed the defendant and, with the help of several civilians, handcuffed him,” prosecutors added.

Yadira Arroyo died in hospital.

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Bronx prosecutors said Gonzalez’s previous inability to stand trial resulted in a psychiatric stay in May 2022. In September, however, he regained full legal capacity.

During the trial, Arroyo’s former EMT partner Monique Williams tearfully testified about the incident, CBS New York reported. A colleague reportedly said Williams remains devastated and traumatized to this day.

The prosecutor’s office thanked Williams and others deeply affected by the murder for testifying.

“Jose Gonzalez was today convicted of first-degree murder in the horrific death of Yadira Arroyo, a mother of five and 14-year-old veteran EMT, on March 16, 2017. Yadi’s road to justice was arduous; This case has been delayed due to numerous hearings on the defendants’ fitness for trial, but their family and FDNY colleagues have been patient and steadfast from the beginning to today’s verdict,” Bronx District Attorney Darcel Clark said in a statement. “I thank the witnesses who saw Yadi in her last moments for their testimonies during the trial. Yadi lives on in the legacy of her children and in the countless New Yorkers she has helped in times of need.”

After the first responder’s murder, city officials decided to rename a park in the Bronx in her memory, as a “appropriate tribute to her service and sacrifice.”

“Arroyo was a longtime Bronx resident who was known for her generous nature and kindness. She volunteered at her local soup kitchen and was always caring about the people around her. A fourteen-year veteran of FDNY EMS Station 26 in the South Bronx, Arroyo was considered their matriarch. Arroyo died on March 17, 2017 after succumbing to injuries when she was hit by her ambulance while trying to stop his theft. She is survived by her five sons,” the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation said. “Arroyo was a dedicated civil servant who gave her life for the community. She was posthumously awarded the 2017 Medal of Valor by the National Association of Hispanic Firefighters and Basic Life Support Provider of the Year by the Regional Emergency Medical Services Council of NYC. Arroyo is immortalized in a mural on Soundview, a street jointly named 169th Street and Boston Road, and on plaques at both the station building and St. Barnabas Hospital.”

Gonzalez’s sentencing is currently set for April 5th.

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https://lawandcrime.com/crime/ambulance-hijacker-convicted-of-first-degree-murder-for-running-over-veteran-fdny-emt-and-mother-of-5-dragging-body-down-the-street/ FDNY EMT Yadira Arroyo’s killer found guilty of murder

Brian Ashcraft

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